Hello, I would like to preface this by saying I'm not looking for wrongful termination or to sue the union for misrepresentation. Not that I don't believe these thing occured in this situation, but I think it would be hard to do, and not the point of my post.
What I'm asking for is a simple opinion on the following. Can I sue my former union for lost wages and job opportunities because they failed to give me certification in the field, despite the fact that, by their laws, they have to?
It's quite the long story but the short version of which goes like this: I was employed by a bottle making factory in my hometown from May 2007 to Dec 2013. I worked exclusively in the "hot end" or forming department. I entered the union after 6 months on the job. Since this was on-the-job training, I was considered, by my union and the company, to be an "apprentice operator" until I reached 4000 hours of work on the machines. I reached the required time in August of 2009. I was supposed to receive a journeyman's operator card after complettion of those 4000 hours. This would offically make me a "journeyman operator" and I could use that card to find similiar work at another factory if I chose to, or was forced to. It's very clear in the guidelines for this job that they have to disqualify you from the "hot end" entirely before your 4000 hours are up, otherwise you're considered a journeyman, and they must give you the card. Despite many requests, I was given the run around by my union president and the union secretary. There was always some reason for the delay and I don't think they ever intended to give me my card until I went over their heads to the international union. I also bid on and was excepted for a "backup upkeep" position, which was a higher labor grade, and cannot be bid on or given to a person that is not a journeyman operator.
When I came to work one day, and they decided to fire me, I asked again why i wasnt given my card, and was told by international rep that it would be in the mail within a couple weeks. It never showed up.
I have applied and been denied work at 3 similiar jobs because I dont have my card. Nobody is going to hire me, even tho they know I have the experience and time on the job because, to them, Im still not qualified.
On top of all of this, both of my cousins were fired as well and neither received their cards as well.
Now to the reason I'm here and why I'm trying to do something about this now : I don't have the money for a lawyer. I have worked odd jobs and anything I have a skill in outside of this, but its not enough to pay retainers and still be able to live. Im also going through a court process to get sole custody of my son and will soon be caring for him as well. I enjoyed my job in this field and felt that I had become quite good at it in the 6.5 years that I did it. But without this card I have not been able to find a job in this field that I spent so much of my life working for. I believe we have a monsterous case of something on our hands, and I'm just seeing what the internet has to say. I plan on calling many local attoneies tomorrow to discuss this as well. Any help would be appreciated so much, even if its not something I want to hear. thanks- Joshwa